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New Laws Impacting Counties: Agriculture, Environment & Natural Resources

November 21, 2019

Governor Newsom signed 870 bills into law this year. To keep counties informed of new laws that impact them, CSAC is publishing a series of articles to spotlight those laws in each policy area. This week, the Agriculture, Environment, and Natural Resources and the Government, Finance and Administration policy areas provide information on new laws affecting cannabis, defensible space, animal control and (insert highlights and topics from GFA) Stay tuned for more updates from other policy areas over the next several weeks.

The new laws listed below become effective January 1, 2020, unless otherwise noted.

AB 97 (Committee on Budget): Cannabis. This budget trailer bill allows state licensing authorities to continue issuing provisional licenses to qualified applicants until 2022 and extends the CEQA exemption for local jurisdictions’ adoption of cannabis program ordinances until 2021.

AB 1125 (Cooley): This new law authorizes CalAnimals to establish and provide certification that recognizes State-approved training and education through a voluntary certification program to California’s Animal Control Officers. Specifically, the bill creates a framework for animal control officers to receive state recognized certification if they so choose.

SB 99 (Nielsen): This new law requires counties upon the next revision of the housing element on or after January 1, 2020, to review and update the safety element to include information identifying residential developments in hazard areas that do not have at least 2 emergency evacuation routes. This is a new planning requirement for local governments.

SB 153 (Wilk): This law revises California’s provisions for the regulation of cultivation and testing of industrial hemp in California in order conform the state’s hemp plan to meet new federal law on hemp under the federal Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. The bill also specifies what type of information that County Agriculture Commissioner must send to CDFA regarding hemp growers including contact information for each hemp producer, a legal description of the land on which the grower operates, and the registration status of the grower. This bill also requires County Agriculture Commissioners to retain this information for at least three years after obtaining it.

SB 190 (Dodd): This law updates building standards, requires the development of a list of low cost retrofits, would help provide important Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) safety information to building officials and the general public, and requires the creation of a model defensible space program for local governments. Most importantly to counties, this law provides for the collaborative creation of a model defensible space ordinance that local governments could adopt to help meet requirements under Government Code 51182 and Public Resources Code 4291. Cal Fire must work with a variety of local stakeholders, including local governments, to develop this model ordinance.  Counties that adopt this model defensible space ordinance, after its development, are allowed to recover the actual costs of abatement and may cause a notice of abatement lien to be recorded in the county in which the real property is located.

SB 205 (Hertzberg): This new law requires counties that issue business licenses to verify compliance of businesses with the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Industrial General Permit program for stormwater runoff. The law will apply to all applications for initial business licenses and business license renewals submitted on and after January 1, 2020. The county is then required to transmit this compliance information to the State Water Resources Control Board upon request.

SB 351 (Hurtado): This law requires the Strategic Growth Council to consider applicants for projects undertaken in unincorporated areas for the Transformative Climate Communities (TCC) program. This bill expands the potential reach of the TCC program to disadvantaged communities in unincorporated areas.

SB 657 (Monning): This new law would allow county agricultural commissioners to report to the Secretary of Food and Agricultural on the condition, acreage, production, and value of cannabis produced in the commissioner’s county under cultivation licenses. This new law also prohibits the County Agriculture Commissioner from seeking reimbursement for expenses from either the Department of Food or Agriculture Fund or funding that would be available for cooperative salary agreement as per Section 2222 of the California Food and Agricultural Code.

 

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